I am sure that if I started to test your knowledge on a landlocked country called Uganda I would win hands down. Mainly because I have lived there and know more about the country than most people from UK and USA. As you can imagine then, I was intrigued when I picked up an article stating that colon cancer in Uganda is a fraction of that in the UK and USA. In fact Colon cancer is the third most common kind of cancer here in the UK.
So why the difference?
Well firstly the average Ugandan defecates at least 2 times a day and when he defecates it is also a lot more than us…charming! you might say… but highly significant!
For a while now Doctors have believed that Colon cancer is related to diet and that’s why this is so interesting. It is also the reason why Uganda may have the answer to reducing the incidence of colon cancer here in the UK.
The Ugandans live on a diet of corn, potatoes, rice, fish, groundnuts, berries and mashed savory bananas. To that they will add mangoes, pineapple and sweet bananas. Sweet bananas have a red skin and if you have never tasted them let me tell you from experience they are absolutely delicious!
But there is something else, the Ugandans eat hardly any meat. So they have a high fiber and low fat diet, different from our low fiber and high fat diet where a lot of the fat comes from animal sources.
The news that we need to have a high fiber diet to keep our colons healthy is not new but what these statistics from Uganda do is back up the theory all along that high fiber and low fat reduces the risk of colon cancer. OK so as far as protecting our colon is concerned old news. What about looking at foods that boost our colon?
OLGIOSACCHARIDES are what we are looking for and they come nicely packaged in artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic, and mush rooms. All of these foods promote colonic microflora [good bacteria]
Yogurt and fermented milk products contain live lactobacilli and promote other healthy microflora. Water helps dietary fiber swell up and promotes peristalsis [wavelike movements of colon]. This in turn regulates bowel movements and keeps the contents moving through.
It also might be a good time to develop a taste for fine wine.
Pop open that bottle of Merlot and enjoy it, knowing that it is doing you good. Drinking red wine has been shown to protect against colon cancer where as other alcohols have the opposite effect so enjoy!
We have all been reminded lately of the level of obesity in the UK and USA. In the UK 17% of men and 21% of women are obese. Extra fat around the waist [the apple look] increases the risk of colorectal cancer more than extra weight around the thighs or hips [the pear look] Make it a priority to try and get your weight down and maintain it. Colon cancer is a genuine threat to the UK and USA population but it is within your power to reduce that threat. Reduce your fat and increase your fiber,try to get your weight down and give yourself a regular dose of red wine!